Thursday, March 24, 2011

Manual mode cheat sheets

After practicing a bit with my camera and dreaming about better shots, I finally did a web search for a cheat sheet to help me remember the ISO, aperture and shutter speed details and how they work, separately and together. Here is a little guide for the basics.

Here is a really helpful write up from Muddyboots Photography Blog with a link to a helpful simulator for shutter speed and aperture.

Exposure & your light meter:
* Exposure means how bright or dark your photo is.
* "Correct" exposure means that the photo came out as dark or light as you intended.
* The light meter on your camera will show you your exposure.
* The light meter on your camera looks like this:
* "0" on your light meter usually gives you a "correct exposure".
* Exposing for positive numbers like "+1", "+1.5", "+2", etc will make the photo BRIGHTER.
* Exposing for negative numbers like "-1", "-1.5", "-2", etc will make the photo DARKER.

* Aperture adjusts how large of an opening your lens makes to let light in.
* Small numbers like f/4 = larger opening = more light = a more shallow depth of field
* Large numbers like f/20 = smaller opening = less light = a deeper depth of field
* Depth of field means how much of the photo is in focus. See examples below:

Shallow depth of field:
42 Profile
(click for larger version)

Deep depth of field:
Sedona Tree
(click for larger version)

Shutter Speed:
* "500" in the viewfinder means a shutter speed of 1/500
* Shutter speeds of 1/60th or less can't usually be handheld, put your camera on a tripod
* For telephoto lenses, even faster shutter speeds are needed to handhold the camera, a rule of thumb is for a 100mm lens you need 1/100 or faster, 300mm = 1/300 or faster, 500mm = 1/500 or faster, etc.
* 1/6 or 1/8 is good for blurring waterfalls
* 1/125 can be used for panned shots of cars
* 1/500 will stop most action
* The slower your shutter speed, the more light you get.
* The faster your shutter speed, the less light you get.

* ISO determines how fast your image is recorded
* ISO 100 will record light the slowest (less light)
* ISO 800 will record light 8x faster than ISO 100 (more light)
* Higher ISO's will result in more noise or "graininess" in your image.

Each setting effects the rest. Once you find settings that give you a "correct" exposure ("0" on your exposure meter), you can change your settings to find a more "creatively correct" exposure.

If you change the aperture from f/4 to f/5.6 you'd be SUBTRACTING light by 1 stop. You could ADD back a stop of light by increasing the ISO from 100 to 200, or by choosing a slower shutter speed like 1/30 instead of 1/60.


I think these 2 are really great guides that I will be printing and keeping in my camera bag so I can keep them handy. Hopefully these are just the thing I need to step up my photography! (That and light, damn you winter for coming back, again!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Manual setting

Well I finally gave up reading the camera manual in order and just found the page on the manual setting. I figured that out and was playing around for a while, but I really need a refresher in ISO, aperture and all that. I can't really look up tips and tricks until I really understand the camera, so I believe I will be finding a book in the library for a nice simple guide that I can memorize and put to good use.

My goal with this camera is to get good enough with it to be able to bring it to Ireland with me in May and actually use it. Yes, I am off to Ireland for a quick jaunt! But when I travel I tend to pack just what I need (from a history of taking stand by flights), so I don't want to bring the big camera if I am not even going to use it.

I still have a bit of time left to get that learning done; here's hoping I can get going on it and have enough light to take the good shots! Winter is finally coming to an end, so that looks like it might happen! Yay sunlight and spring!!

I will try to get back here with some of my own photos, but I am not sure when that will happen. And, there is the fact that I don't have photo editing software, nor do I know how to use it, so they will be untouched. Hopefully it all works out! Keep your fingers crossed for me!